In some science fiction circles, there is a continuing debate within temporal mechanics over whether the flow of time is a linear concept that begins at Point A and concludes at Point B, or is it perhaps more structured like a flowing river, complete with eddies, currents and high and low tides going back and forth in varying intervals and with uneven degrees of force. Multitalented and multitasking marvel playwright and performing prodigy Rick Miller does what should logically be the unthinkable by trying to blend the two aforementioned perspectives together – at least in a sense – in delivering on a Teflon platter to the Segal Centre the follow-up to a juggernaut of a production to end all follow-ups to production juggernauts. But Miller doesn’t think like the rest of us; he merely – and wholly – captivates and challenges us in our conventionality and wistful glances at the passage of time. Boom X picks up exactly where the inimitable Boom left off (rendering it then not so inimitable, by extension) – with the heart of the hippie/flower child generation hanging on by a proverbial thread to every last musical note, sometimes distorted by a wah wah pedal and sometimes melodically unfurled like a sonically sweet red carpet. Woodstock would be their last hurrah, and potentially ominous new winds were sweeping in.
The end of Woodstock was, to some, the apex, as well as the end, of a dream or a purpose; it was, in effect, the end of a social cohort affectionately dubbed the “Baby Boomers” by social theorists. But Miller swats that culturally apocalyptic notion away with a figurative bat swing that would make the crème de la crème of hitters of his beloved and beleaguered Montreal Expos easily a tad jealous. Miller delivers the story in this installment of the future trilogy in a fashion with which he can directly – and expertly – identify. This is Boom X, and “X” marks the spot of a generation lost in space, with apologies to an icon of the era ironically born a generation before, “American Pie” lyricist Don McLean.
Miller passionately – and ingeniously – interweaves the best (and arguably) the worst of political, musical, social, sporting and cultural events and trends into the burgeoning mosaic (a term proudly identified as a pseudo-patriotic Canadian descriptive term in the production) which encapsulates the lives of those born between the dawn of the 1970’s and 1995. And he does so at breakneck pace with pistol perfect accuracy in a dazzling display that has to be seen (and heard) to be believed. Master of Ceremonies Miller does a litany of impassioned impressions, and uses technology to its supreme zenith of visual and auditory potential.
Musically, Rick can effortlessly summon the gods of psychedelia and then just flawlessly transition into the ferocious snarl that characterized revolutionary late ’70s British punk. But he can also get the nostalgia craving crowd bobbing their head to the quirky, familiar and often radio friendly sounds that poignantly marked the majority of the 1980s before ushering in the dark clouds at decade’s end, the Reaganonomic descent and the angst-ridden wail of an angry uprising of newly disaffected youth looking for a new sound and a new direction – channeled through the primal screams emanating from Seattle’s burgeoning alternative rock scene.
Told from the vastly divergent perspectives of four people close to Miller’s heart, and interspersed with monologue moments from the man himself, the kaleidoscope through which he peers is simultaneously mesmerising and monumentally relevant, but yet still compelling in its tiny nuances and crevices of brilliant social commentary and sharp sociopolitical analysis.
Produced by Kidoons and WYRD in association with Theatre Calgary and the 20K Collective, the endurance and prodigal infusion of patented Miller high energy pomp and circumstance sets the bar just short of the stratosphere. With the support of executive producer Jeff Lord, the alluring lighting design of Bruno Matte, and the jaw-dropping projection design of Nicholas Dostie – not to omit the dizzying, dazzling and larger-than-life pageantry of Virginie Leclerc’s costume and props design, Miller will exhaust you and elate you not unlike the first time you tried to figure out the Rubik’s Cube.
Get your prized bell-bottom jeans, well-pressed skinny ties and favourite plaid shirts out of mothballs for the Boom emanating from the Segal Centre until March 10th before the rest of the country and then the international theatre community get their taste of X.
Visit segalcentre.org for more information or call the box office at (514) 739-7944.